November 22nd, 2007

redeye

As the World Falls Down

Generally, I avoid talking about health issues on LJ/MySpace, as I usually consider that sort of thing firmly in the realm of the private. But I've been suffering from an apparent TMJ flare-up since mid-October, and the last two days, in particular, have been excruciatingly uncomfortable. Not sleeping well, and during the day, the pain makes concentration almost impossible. And there's all this work that absolutely will not wait for this thing to pass. Though I could ill-afford the time away from the desk, I took yesterday off, trying to recover a bit, but the way I feel this morning, I'm pretty sure it was a futile gesture. (And please, no suggestions for treating TMJ).

On Tuesday, I began the "reverse lycanthropy" piece for Sirenia Digest #24, which I am calling "The Wolf Who Cried Girl" (thank you, Spooky). I did 1,006 words, and hopefully I'll be able to pick up today where I left off, as I need to get this one written and away to Vince by Monday.

Yesterday, we attended a matinee showing of Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's novella, The Mist. I went in hopeful, but skeptical. I left the theatre stunned and duly impressed. As I have said so many times before, I'm not a film (or book) reviewer, but you can find a review that says a lot of what I feel about The Mist at "Aint It Cool News." My complaints are few. I do wish the film could have spent more time on build-up, showing more of the storm that preceded the coming of the mist, the water spout, etc. Also, I think Thomas Jane as David Drayton is a problematic bit of casting in a film that is otherwise very well cast. On the one hand, Jane has the sort of bland everyman quality that King so often brings to his protagonists, and I can't say that Jane's that far off from Drayton as written in the novella. The problem arises, I think, from Marcia Gay Harden's superb performance as the zealous Mrs. Carmody. Gay's Carmody calls for a more passionate counterpoint, someone with a lot more screen presence than Thomas Jane. That said, yes, I was impressed. This is a story I've been wanting to see filmed since I first read it in Kirby McCauley's Dark Forces almost thirty years ago, and I am very glad that it wasn't made until sfx technology was able to catch up with King's vision. The creature design, which includes work by Bernie Wrightson, is wonderful. But the most stunning thing about Darabont's take on "The Mist" is its ending (which I will not spoil). I went in figuring that we'd either get the ending from King's story or we'd get a much rosier ending dictated by test-audience opinions. Instead, Darabont takes away King's bleak and unresolved ending, and in its stead we are given an ending that is far, far bleaker, and perhaps equally unresolved. This is, I think, the first real post-Katrina horror film, and the blow delivered by the last five minutes of The Mist seemed, to me, very much a comment on the American government's too-little, too-late response to the flooding of New Orleans. All in all, a chilling, powerful film that's much more about the frailty of civilization and just how thin a veneer "humanity" is, than it is a film about the Lovecraftian monstrosities lurking in the fog. Strongly recommended.

And for everyone who's wondered what I mean when I speak of the Second Life town of New Babbage, here's a brief tour, including a few shots of the Palaeozoic Museum:



...and as long as I'm at it, I'll repost the clip from The Culture Show: